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Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Letter to my Son on his 6th Birthday! - Ryder

Dear Ryder,

Good Morning, Birthday Boy

You are now 6 years old!  Happy birthday!  Somehow, just the number 6 seems so big.  But, maybe, it is because you are big.  Over the last few months you have matured physically, and emotionally.  You no longer look like a baby.  In fact, you grew nearly two inches and are 44 3/4 inches and gained 10 pounds and weigh 47.5 lbs.  TEN POUNDS, no wonder I can't lift you anymore.  You are taller, broader, bigger, and overall, much more mature looking.

Ryder at 5 

Ryder at 6

This is the first time that I have written separate letters to you and your brother.  I think, in the past, I did  one because it was easier.  But, you and he, brothers to the core, are also very different boys, and so, it seemed appropriate to write you individual letters, for the individual boys that you are.  Ryder, you are one of the most interesting boys anyone has ever met.  To know you is to learn your passions, your interests, your creativity, as it flows from your very being.  In just talking with you it becomes clear that there is so much more going on in that head of yours and you leave us wanting to know more.  Your ideas are creative, profound, deep.  Your ideas have ideas.

Your passion runs so deep in you that you don't just like things but you love them with your whole heart.  It is never fleeting, it actually becomes a part of of who you are.  You take the time to study these things, learn about them, enact them.  You become them.  You have been many superheroes, Power Rangers, Ben 10 Tenyson, a Karate Master, the Karate Kid, Benny from the Sandlot, and so much more.  You love music, still, and have added Bruno Mars, and One Direction to your list of favorites.

Back in September you started school as a Kindergartner.  You and Chase were, for the first time, separated in the classroom, a decision which proved itself perfect time and again.  You were in class with Mrs. Delfini at Richboro Elementary School and the entire year was wonderful.  You adjusted quite easily, perhaps even easier than Chase and immediately found yourself.  Your first day of school you were dressed up in typical Ryder garb:  Untucked button down, tie, shorts, flip flops, hair gelled and done.  You carried this look with such confidence that there is a piece me of surprised that the whole school didn't take on your look by year's end.

First day of kindergarten, August 2011

You made new friends and took to the skills you were being taught and even fell in love.  One day, you came home and asked me if 5 was too young to date.  When we discussed it you said you would like to take me on a date.  So I, happily, obliged.  We had a great time and I am thrilled we had a special day, but I am pretty sure that this was just practice for what you hoped would lead to a date with someone else, whom you asked out later in the year.  You were disappointed but handled it well when her parents said she can't date until 16 years old.  You immediately started X'ing off the days until her 16th year.  During the school year the romantic in you had drawn her pictures (her favorite, strawberry shortcake) and given her the four leaf clover you had luckily found in the field. I hope someday soon she realizes how lucky she is that your eyes are on her.

You left Kindergarten able to read, though you often choose not.  Able to spell, though you usually ask for my help.  And, able to do some math, though you claim you don't like it much.  Hey, I understand, there is nothing creative about math.  You made friends, and your teacher, who was amazing, understood you right from the start.   She saw your potential, your passions, and she never ceased to tell me how creative she thought you were.

You only got in trouble in school one time that I am aware of.  One time.  Because of your hair.  I couldn't help but laugh when I heard the story, but did insist quite sternly that you refrained from doing your hair (and soaking yourself and the bathroom) while you are supposed to be in school learning.

You ask questions, always questions that involve a detailed answer, usually questions I am not completely sure about.  Rarely is it, "The sky is blue, right?" not even the "Why is the sky blue?" more like, "What makes the sky blue?" forcing an answer involving science...your favorite subject.  You love science, and experimenting, and are often doing so in the bathroom or the kitchen.  Aside from a mess you have yet to cause damage, thankfully.

Although you played sports this year, soccer in the Fall and baseball in the Spring, neither activity tapped into your being.  Although you don't mind playing for fun you are not at all competitive and are not fully interested in playing any sport for the full hour (or more) it takes.  Although in baseball you are a good hitter, with a swing that could really make you awesome if you wanted to be, your time in the field is filled with dirt playing and tying your shoe laces together.  Perhaps this will change with age.

Although you are not fully interested in such team sports, you are very athletic and your ability to climb, jump, hang, kick, etc. is quite admirable.  I am looking into gymnastics courses for you.  There I think you will find your way.

The tooth fairy came to visit you this year, for the first time, as you lost your bottom two teeth.

The past year was one of the most mild winters I can remember.  Aside from an odd snow storm that came on Halloween, we never saw snow again.  Except when we went to the Poconos and we took you skiing for the first time.   This was an experience you say you enjoyed, though it was hard to tell from the window in the lodge where we watched you from.

We watched the best team in baseball, the Phillies, win 102 games, only to collapse in the play-offs and get knocked out of the NLDS.  We watched the Flyers do something similar, and we watched as the Eagles, who were claimed a "dream team" pre-season, have an extremely disappointing season.   

Your 6th birthday was celebrated with our traditional hibachi dinner on Friday night.  On Saturday, your actual birthday, we had the Seltzer's, Oren, and the Cohen's over to swim and play and enjoy.  We then followed that up with a birthday party of 25 kids.  Your theme was Ben 10 Alien (your brother's the Flyers) and the cakes and the color scheme reflected such.  The Great Holtzie had you and your friends absolutely cracking up.  After, we enjoyed pizza and cupcakes and a visit from the ice cream man.  I think everyone had a blast.

Chase and Ryder's 6th birthday invitation

You are back at Briarwood this Summer and you absolutely love it.   You are a fish in our pool and seem to love swimming more than everyone in this family.  You can jump, swim, and are learning to dive and have passed your deep water test at camp!

Although you still wear your hair longer you did cut it all off in February and went with the shorty and spikey look.  As one who loves long hair on boys I have to tell you I absolutely loved the look and you looked, if possible, even more handsome than you had looked the day before.  Maybe you will cut it short again, maybe not.  You are very opinionated about your hair.

You are a big eater though you enjoy only a few things.  In fact, we have an approved list of Ryder's Foods that you still remain particular about.  You love to climb trees, jump on the trampoline, ride your bike, play with your friends, and be with your brothers.  You are sweet, and funny, and rambunctious, as well as well-mannered, and kind, and thoughtful and romantic.  You have a sense of humor and love to laugh.

Last year was one of the worst years that daddy and I have been through.  We had a lot of bad luck on top of some poor decisions.  But we clawed through.  And, make no mistake, you and your brothers were the bait we needed to get us through some tougher times.  Your laughs, your smiles, your good-hearted ways, reminded us daily that life is all about what is right in front of us.  Thank you for that, son!

I am so very proud of the boy that you are and the boy you are becoming and I wear the badge of "mommy" with sheer delight. I am always interested to see where you head down your very individual path and I am confident that the path you choose will never be boring or uninteresting. I will always support you as you find your way and have no doubt that you will continue to light up the room of those around you.  Mine especially.

Happy birthday my dear boy.  I love you so!!

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